Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia
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In a landmark opinion, the Supreme Court held that Title VII protects LGBTQ+ employees who face discrimination or retaliation based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
What Happened in Court
Gerald Bostock had a strong performance record as a child welfare advocate employed by Clayton County in Georgia. Shortly after he began participating in a gay recreational softball league, however, the county fired him for what it deemed “unbecoming” conduct. Mr. Bostock claimed that his firing was illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits any adverse action “because of … sex.” For decades, courts and governmental agencies had debated whether this language applied to workplace decisions based on an employee’s sexual orientation or transgender status. In Bostock, a 6-3 majority of the justices embraced and cemented a long-emerging consensus: “An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law.”
The case was consolidated and decided along with two related cases: In one, Donald Zarda was fired shortly after mentioning that he was gay; in the other, Aimee Stephens, a transgender woman, was fired after telling her employer she planned to work under her true gender identity.